GENRE AND OBJECTIVE
Auro is a rogue-lite where the player must earn a certain number of points each round in a turn-based arena. This is accomplished by bumping monsters off a hexagon-based board and into water by predicting and exploiting their movement patterns, or destroying them with spells before they can damage Auro, the titular character and your avatar, and take his health or Barrier from 7 down to 0. Auro can be moved one space at a time on the hexagon board, and then all monsters move or use their actions. Most monsters move toward Auro until they can use their damaging ability to harm him. When waiting for their abilities to recharge, they typically flee or move randomly. To make the game easier, the player can use various abilities which move Auro even more in one turn, move monsters or even destroy them. Using these abilities does NOT end the player's turn, so it's possible to chain various abilities together for a grand move that bumps out or kills multiple monsters! This can be a great way to rack up points, especially since knocking out monsters increases the 'combo meter' which grants more points for each monster slain. However, the combo meter depletes when turns pass with no monsters slain, and abilities cannot be used again until enough 'power tiles' are stepped on to recharge Auro's abilities. As such, it's vital that the player formulate a strategy to make the most of their abilities, their surroundings, and the monsters' abilities and movement. It doesn't pay to rush in Auro: A Monster Bumping-Adventure, but the player will do well if they can knock out several monsters with very few turns in between.
Each completed round increases the game's difficulty, and earns the player more 'ranking' points with each consecutive victory. The game's difficulty is divided into four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Don't worry about the climb. Enough successful consecutive wins will allow the player to take a 'Placement Test': A very difficult round where the player keeps going with the monster-bumping until they lose; the appropriate difficulty will be decided by the game as a result of that score earned. Along the way through each difficulty level, the player will receive encouraging words and advice from various characters, even if the player loses. So don't feel bad if this game is hard to figure out. There will be plenty of tips each round and plenty of encouragement.
The player moves Auro by clicking on adjacent hexagons with the mouse, and can activate their abilities via mouse or keyboard hotkeys (QWERTY for three standard abilities, an Ultimate ability and a 'Rune' or picked up ability). All actual aiming and movement must be completed with the mouse, as of now.
Auro features beautifully detailed and smoothly animated pixel art for all the sprites and the title screen. Everything bounces in place, the limbs of Foxies and the spear of the Troggle shrimp monster all snap like made of rubber, Auro's mischevous grin and rosy cheeks really shine. It is as though the graphics were all hand-drawn and painted, then digitally scanned and cleaned up to keep their lively quality.
Auro mixes magnificent orchestral music with chiptune sound effects. Not much to say here other than the music is majestic and fit for a fantasy-themed casual game such as this, and that if you like it enough that you can buy the official soundtrack with deleted songs included here: https://dinofarmgames.bandcamp.com/album/auro-a-monster-bumping-adventure-official-soundtrack
Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure. In the vein of rogue-lites, it's pretty tough unless you're pretty smart. This reviewer isn't, and barely squeaked into the second level of difficulty and can barely stop from getting demoted back into Bronze. Even so, Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure makes for an intellectually-stimulating and relaxing casual puzzle/rogue-lite game.
Read an interview with the creator, Keith Burgun: http://otakumaker.com/index.php/news/news-general-steam-interview-with-keith-burgun
Link to Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/459680/
Support us & Follow us on Steam Curator : http://steamcommunity.com/groups/OKMReviews#curation